Bidet making headway in America’s bathrooms

Posted by at 8:44 am

Surveys today show Americans are open to all kinds of home innovation, and the bathroom is no exception. But acceptance of the bidet – the common personal cleaning fixture that graces commodes throughout much of Europe and Asia – has been a bit of a tough sell. It’s unquestioned that the quality of cleaning with a bidet fixture is superior to toilet paper alone, so why the American reluctance? One of the keys to selling a better toilet is marketing. And in America, talking about the best ways to clean up after the loo has always been a bit taboo. Many anthropologists believe American GIs coming back from World War II associated the bidet with bordellos visited overseas. Given America’s puritanical past, they may have been uncomfortable introducing the bidet to neighbors, afraid they might have to explain exactly where...
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Escalating the situation

Posted by at 11:58 pm

In the increasingly vigorous – and competitive – real estate market, motivated homebuyers may want to consider an “automated” method for making bids on a property of particular interest. You can often match or beat offers that come in later than your own by including an “escalation clause.” Here’s how it works: Say you put in an offer of $260,000, and someone comes along later and offers $265,000. Your escalation clause might come with instructions to match it, or to offer $5,000 more than the highest offer, so your offer automatically goes up to $270,000. The escalation clause can also include a “cutoff” or a maximum amount you are willing to pay – say $275,000. If someone comes along and bids $280,000, you’re not going that high. In situations where a property is likely to see multiple offers and even...
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Looking out for Generation Z

Posted by at 11:51 am

It seems that almost every segment of the real estate profession today is aimed at the Millennial Generation. Makes sense. At 80 million strong, Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are the largest demographic in history. And now, most have graduated college, begun careers and families, and are settling nicely into the prime spending years. But time moves inexorably forward, and it’s not too early to be talking about the next wave of potential homeowners – Generation Z. Made up of the 75 million Americans born since 1996, Generation Z is expected to start buying homes in earnest within five to 10 years. Analysts say they’re going to be a bargain-hunting, tech-loving, real estate–savvy force to be reckoned with. Watching the Great Recession unfold, most are financially conservative. They know the value of a dollar and the mathematics behind long-term...
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Accessorize your dwelling with an ADU unit

Posted by at 2:56 pm

As home prices continue to  rise, many folks are left wondering how they can afford a piece of the American dream. Some have broached the idea of sharing, but co-ownership – even among family – is a little too cozy for most. The tenancy approach is probably the easiest. That’s why many buyers today are looking for homes with potential to add “accessory dwelling units,” or ADUs. ADU residences can be build-ons, re-purposed space or even a separate, free-standing unit. The main draw is practicality. ADUs provide a sense of autonomy for the renter at a lower cost, and can provide the homeowners with help paying their mortgage. The majority (62 percent) of U.S. households are made up of one or two people, while most new and existing homes are designed to accommodate three or four. Legacy housing stock is...
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June 12th, 2018

Social media: Real estate’s elusive missing link

Posted by at 11:39 am

The future of housing always rests with the younger generations, and in 2018, that means it’s in the hands of Millennials – literally. Like all of today’s successful businesses, you have to enable prospects and clients to access all the information they need from their mobile devices. The power of social media is real estate’s elusive missing link. If you want to get the attention of Millennials, you’ll need to harness its power. For many, social media has devolved into a forum to post links in hopes thousands will  share them with their followers. That’s the easy way out, but it won’t set you apart from the competition. Social media channels have underscored that by updating content-ranking policies. Facebook’s algorithm now penalizes link-based content, and Instagram has made link-sharing all-but-impossible. So what’s your social media alternative? Step one: Put yourself...
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Shopping heats up for summer home season

Posted by at 12:42 pm

Just when you thought the housing market couldn’t get any hotter, it’s a buying frenzy as the summer season begins. Most buyers are beset with confidence in the job market, and many also carry the ticking biological desire to start families. Even with all the talk about rising prices, rising interest rates and reduced tax benefits in 2018, demand is not cooling. If anything, it appears the potential homebuyer is just becoming more rugged and resilient! According to a March survey, 40 percent of home shoppers have been looking for seven months or more, while 34 percent have been searching for four to six months. The numbers show that there is only enough inventory on the market to last 3.4 months. In a statement, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, reported: “supply is woefully low, and...
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Home water wells for more liquidity

Posted by at 3:10 pm

Well, well, well. Drilling a home water well could give you more liquidity – in your pocketbook. Cost to install a well depends on many factors, including where you live, but in most regions, it runs less than $5,000. After initial installation, any water you pump from the ground is free! Many urban homeowners use wells exclusively for outdoor watering, and in areas with shortages – and consequent bans on non-essential watering – a ready supply of well water can do wonders for lawn-lovers and gardening gastronomes. Water wells can also be used for drinking water, but these should be separated from any septic system by at least 100 feet. The well should be located on a level surface or uphill so that contaminants do not accumulate. If you plan to drink the water, you need to have it periodically...
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Artificial Intelligence and Real Estate Roles

Posted by at 3:14 pm

Some real estate agents may avoid technology out of concern it could lead to their eventual demise. There’s no need to fear the future. Computers don’t have much in the way of personality, but are amazing at crunching numbers. Their efficiency is undeniable. Home shoppers don’t have a lot of time, and appreciate a real estate agent who is plugged in, allowing them to peruse neighborhoods in their precious spare time. That’s why web designers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts have an increasing role in real estate. All the technology has some firms dropping office space altogether and going “virtual.” Computer analyzed data saves a lot of time in marketing, too. A well-maintained database can quickly find everyone within a specific area who has the basic means and motivation to buy a listed home by reviewing recent purchases and...
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Tax Refunds Can Help Bring You Home

Posted by at 12:34 pm

Are you one of the many millions receiving a refund on your 2017 tax return? Like many Americans, you may be tempted to use the refund on a mini spending spree. Easy to understand – who doesn’t like a new wardrobe, fancy dinners, or the latest electronics upgrade? But if you’re thinking about buying that first home, resist that urge to splurge! Here’s a few ways to use that small spring windfall to unleash a torrent of future wealth through home ownership: Build down-payment savings: Whether it’s a few hundred or several thousand dollars, think about depositing your refund into a down-payment savings account. The more you can put toward that initial payment, the less you have to borrow, and the lower your monthly payments. Tax refunds are relatively small for most people, so saving two or three years’ worth...
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Interactive sites help Millennials make moves

Posted by at 2:34 pm

Trying to appeal to the potential homebuyer in today’s Millennial? Better promise them more than great customer service – they prefer solutions over promises. During their initial home search, chances are they won’t return your call or call a customer service department. As with every problem or need, they’ll first turn to Google. Millennials feel better about your business when you make it easy to do things online, by themselves, on their schedule. Millennial home shoppers are not only tech-savvy, they’re tech-bred. They use mobile devices for everything – from planning vacations to researching stocks to checking the Twitter status of celebs. It’s not a stretch to say these folks probably couldn’t conduct home buying or other personal financial management without the aid of a digital device, even if they wanted to. Already the largest and fastest-growing cohort among home-buyers, they’ll soon be claiming complete...
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